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CSCS Revision – Weils Disease

CSCS Revision – Weils Disease(Leptospirosis)

Weils disease (also known as Leptosprosis) is one of the areas you may be questioned on in the CSCS Test. Everyone shoud be aware of the dangers as it is a major factor of health and safety in the environment,not just construction workers.
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Leptospirosis is caused by bacterial infection and can be fatal. For the purposes of the CSCS test the main carriers are considered to be rats and cows but other small animals such as mice and squirrels can also carry it and it can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans.

The contamination can be picked up from the animals urine or by water contaminated by the animals urine. Rats are naturally incontinent and spread the bacteria wherever they go.

Current thinking is that one in every five rats carry it.

These CSCS Revision notes would not be complete without telling you where you can catch it. The main risk of contracting the disease is in fresh water. Puddles, runoff water, streams, lakes and rivers are all liable to contain the bacteria and swimmers and anglers are likely to catch it. Anglers particularly because of the small cuts they may get from the tackle. On a building site, areas to be particularly careful are places like ditches and damp cellars.

Once the bacteria dry out they normally become harmless but remain dangerous for a much longer time once they get into water. There is very little risk in salt water.

The bacteria enter through cuts and splashes to the eyes and nose and by getting into the mouth. You must be very careful to wash your hands particularly before eating. Scrupulous cleanliness is the best way to prevent catching it.

Use waterproof plasters on cuts and be sure to wear protective gloves when working anywhere you are liable to contract it, particularly sewers or derelict buildings.

There have been cases of Weils disease being caught in slaughterhouses when workers have been splashed by infected urine from the slaughtered animals. Farm or domestic animals which have caught the disease can pass it on while they are infected through bodily fluids but not usually by skin contact or airborne methods. Cleaning any spilt fluids with disinfectant will usually make them safe.

Once an animal has recovered it is no longer infectious. This is the difference between infected animals and carriers such as rats who are not ill themselves but can carry the disease and pass it on to others.

CSCS Revision – Symptoms of Weils Disease

The early symptoms are flu like symptoms, aches and pains and loss of appetite but these can develop into bruises, sore eyes, nosebleeds and jaundice. If not treated early enough it can also be fatal. British Rower Andy Holmes died of Leptospirosis in October 2010.

Leptospirosis is a reportable disease. If you are diagnosed with it you must inform your supervisor at work so that they in turn can report the occurance of the disease. You may be asked a question about this in the cscs test.

This video is a bit strange but does make a few points.


The CSCS Revision MockTest Questions

Checkout the CSCS Revision Questions elsewhere on the site. In the CSCS test the questions on Weils Disease will be geared towards the disease being passed on by Cows and rats and wet areas such as drains and sewers.

You will almost certainly be asked a question on Weils Disease in the CSCS test so pay attention to the above cscs revision notes.

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